LCLS Policies

Integration of User-Supplied Equipment at LCLS

LCLS may accommodate the addition of small components to the existing LCLS instruments and will consider such additions proposed by users during the LCLS technical feasibility review portion of the proposal review process. The proposal should include a clear scientific and technical justification for the additional components that are to be provided by the user (justification should be commensurate with the complexity and resources required for integration). LCLS strongly encourages prospective users to contact the LCLS staff scientists in charge of the instruments to discuss how the existing LCLS instrumentation can be used.

The integration of large-scale components (i.e. endstations) may be considered in exceptional cases, based on prior discussions/negotiations with the LCLS Director, and subject to the following proposal, justification, review, and equipment integration requirements:

  1. Submission of a proposal for the integration of endstations (or large-scale components) requires advanced submission approval from the LCLS Director - based on a brief Letter Of Interest (LOI)  following the provided template, and ongoing discussions with LCLS staff.
  2. Proposals for the integration of endstations (or large-scale components) must be part of a comprehensive scientific proposal, along the lines of a “Scientific Campaign” proposal (see Proposal Preparation Guidelines). This is subject to review (see Proposal Review Process) by the Proposal Review Panel (PRP) and additional outside reviewers as needed, in consultation with the LCLS Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).
  3. In addition to the requirements for a proposal at the level of a “Scientific Campaign”, proposals for the integration of endstations (or large-scale components) must include:
    • Clear justification of the technical need, and broader scientific impact of the instrumentation, i.e.:
      Why is this instrumentation essential for the proposed science?
      Why is this not possible with existing (even augmented) LCLS instrumentation?
      Why is this in the strategic scientific interest of LCLS?
      What is the anticipated broader scientific impact of having this instrument at LCLS?
    • Indication of likely additional users or groups or science programs who may be interested to exploit the unique capabilities of this instrument at LCLS.
    • Clear plan for installation, commissioning, and ongoing support of the instrument over the proposed period during which it will reside at LCLS. This should include a summary of the resources required (financial, technical, personnel etc.), and the proposed source of the required resources.
  4. Note that prior discussions/negotiations with the LCLS Director should establish what resources (financial, technical, personnel, etc.) are expected from the proposers, and what may be provided by LCLS. Similarly, such discussions should establish appropriate acknowledgement and/or authorship on any future publications that make use of the equipment. This should be clarified in the proposal.
  5. All equipment must be available for LCLS beam time over the entire scheduled run period, or over the period during which the instrument will reside at LCLS. Use of the equipment by other LCLS user groups must not be contingent on collaboration with (or approval of) the original providers of the equipment.
  6. The end station must comply with all the LCLS End Station Guidelines.
  7. The engineering specifications and interfaces for the end stations must be captured in the following two documents:

    1. An Engineering Specification Document (ESD)
    2. An Interface Control Document (ICD).

Instrument Enhancements at LCLS

New instrumentation for LCLS may be developed from time to time by outside groups using primarily non-DOE funding. For instrumentation that offers a significant addition of general utility to LCLS, LCLS management may enter into an agreement with an outside group, specifying the ways in which this instrumentation will be deployed at LCLS so as to benefit the general user community, and the time period for which this instrumentation will be available at LCLS. Groups contributing funds, equipment and/or personnel to the construction of new instrumentation can expect to receive a fraction of beam time on the new instrument during a specified time period. (Note that providing new instrumentation is different from providing resources to conduct a specific experiment, where the equipment will not be available to the general LCLS user community.) Approval for realization of new instrumentation at LCLS that is largely funded by external groups will follow a three step procedure:

  1. The external collaboration intending to build new instrumentation must get the support of LCLS management before negotiations with funding agencies are started. The LCLS commitment will generally be given for a specific period of time. The discussions between LCLS and the collaboration should include:
    1. Evaluation of the scientific potential by the LCLS management, typically in consultation with the LCLS Scientific Advisory Committee;
    2. Submission of a Technical Design Report (TDR) to LCLS management;
    3. Evaluation of the TDR by LCLS management in consultation with the SAC and additional experts as applicable. The review will include feasibility of the program, staffing availability, general user access to instrumentation, permanence of the instrumentation or facility, data acquisition interface issues, etc.;
    4. Analysis of impact on beam time.

    After approval, the results will be summarized in a Letter of Intent signed by the collaboration's spokespersons and the home institutions involved as well as LCLS management.

  2. Negotiation between the collaboration and the funding agencies, involving representatives of LCLS/SLAC management.
  3. After securing funding, the collaboration, together with LCLS instrument scientists and management, will work out the final layout of the instrumentation and the timeline for construction, commissioning, and early operation. In addition, the LCLS involvement in construction oversight will be defined. In case of a change in design from that described in the TDR, which significantly affects the scientific potential of the instrument, the SAC will be informed. The negotiations will conclude with the signing of a written agreement by the spokesperson of the collaboration, the collaborating institutions, and the LCLS/SLAC management.

Reporting Requirements and Acknowledgement Statements

All LCLS users are required to inform the LCLS User Research Administration (URA) office of accepted papers. Communicating with URA is necessary to ensure public awareness of LCLS science and continued facility funding. In addition, advance notification of publications amplifies media efforts (i.e. press releases and features).

All publications, and student theses, related to work fully or partially undertaken at LCLS should contain the following acknowledgement:

"Use of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515."

COVID experiments publications: Publications arising from COVID experiments, which were enabled by the CARES Act funding, should acknowledge the NVBL, in addition to the usual LCLS contract acknowledgement:

"Research was supported by the DOE Office of Science through the National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory, a consortium of DOE national laboratories focused on response to COVID-19, with funding provided by the Coronavirus CARES Act."

LCLS and other SLAC scientists are also responsible for complying with SLAC SciDoc publication procedures.

Reporting Requirements and Acknowledgement Statements for HERA Instrument at MFX

All publications, and student theses, related to work fully or partially undertaken using the HERA (HElium Rich Atmosphere) environment at the MFX Instrument at LCLS should contain the following acknowledgement:

"Use of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515. The HERA system for in helium experiments at MFX was developed by Bruce Doak and funded by the Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research."

Reporting Requirements and Acknowledgement Statements for Use of the Rayonix 340 Detector at MFX

All publications, and student theses, related to work fully or partially undertaken using the Rayonix 340 Detector at the MFX Instrument at LCLS should contain the following acknowledgement:

"Use of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant S10 OD023453."


Reporting Requirements and Acknowledgement Statements for SXR

All publications, and student theses, related to work fully or partially undertaken at on the SXR Instrument at the LCLS should contain the following acknowledgement:

"Use of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515. The SXR Instrument is funded by a consortium whose membership includes the LCLS, Stanford University through the Stanford Institute for Materials Energy Sciences (SIMES), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), University of Hamburg through the BMBF priority program FSP 301, and the Center for Free Electron Laser Science (CFEL)."

Guidelines for Press Releases and Public Communications

  • To ensure effective communication, the collaboration should agree on a primary spokesperson (who generally is one of the corresponding authors) for each experiment with whom correspondence, questions and press should be coordinated.
  • Clear rules within the collaboration should be established to control when, where and how the research can be presented. These rules will be determined in part by a publication's embargo guidelines.
  • LCLS URA and communications contacts from all collaborating institutions should be informed as soon as a paper has been accepted for publication, or if there is a strong indication that it will be accepted.
  • If a press release or any public statement is to be issued, the following should be considered:
    • Any public statement made by members of the collaboration must first be cleared for release by the spokesperson. The home institution of the spokesperson will lead the coordination of communications relating to the statement.
    • The spokesperson's institution has the right to issue the first public communication, although other institutions may simultaneously release information based on the lead institution’s timeline. If the spokesperson’s institution does not wish to prepare information for public release but is comfortable with others releasing information, LCLS URA, working with SLAC communications, will coordinate that information release.
    • The spokesperson’s institution’s communications office will draft the public communication and share it with the communications offices of all collaborating institutions at least one week prior to the planned release of the information.
    • All institutions planning to issue a press release or public statement should inform the spokesperson and the spokesperson's office of communication.
    • All press releases involving LCLS research must include the following LCLS boilerplate:
  • "The Linac Coherent Light Source is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science-funded facility located at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. LCLS is the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser, allowing researchers to see atomic-scale detail on ultrafast timescales. The LCLS enables groundbreaking research in physics, chemistry, structural biology, energy science and many other diverse fields."

  • A media contact from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory should be included along with any other institutional or scientific contacts. The contact should include the following information:
  • Andrew Gordon
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

  • A reference to the scientific publication should be included to help journalists who receive different versions of the release from different institutions.

LCLS Proposal Review Process

There is no cost to submit proposals or conduct experiments at LCLS. However, experimenters are responsible for their own travel expenses and for the costs of non-standard supplies (e.g., chemicals, gases) at the discretion of LCLS management. Each proposal is for one specific experiment. Proposals can be re-submitted at each call, but this will not happen automatically and a re-submission will not receive preference during the review process. There is no limit to the number of proposals that can be submitted by a scientist or team, but multiple similar proposals from the same team members may not be reviewed favorably by the Proposal Review Panel (PRP). Review the proposal preparation guidelines, compile the required information, and submit your proposal early to avoid a last-minute crisis at the proposal cutoff time. LCLS proposals are peer reviewed and rated by the LCLS Proposal Review Panel (PRP).

Calls for proposals will be publicized about six months before the PRP meeting date with a deadline for submission a few months before the PRP meeting. After due deliberation, the PRP will provide LCLS management with a rank ordered list of proposals. Only proposals that fall within the top percentage considered for beam time will be ranked.

Beam Time Allocation and User Notification

The proposal spokesperson will be notified after the PRP meeting whether their proposal will be considered for beam time allocation. This notification will come from the LCLS director and will include the PRP summary comments. Even if a proposal is considered for beam time allocation, it is not yet guaranteed beam time. LCLS management will develop a schedule to accommodate the highest ranked proposals, also considering factors such as safety, technical feasibility, strategic plans, machine multiplexing, and completion of a detailed experimental plan by the user group in consultation with LCLS staff. Upon approval of the schedule by the LCLS director, the proposal spokesperson will be notified.

The LCLS beam time schedule including the proposal title and name of the proposal spokesperson will be posted on the LCLS User web site.

Duplication of Effort

The merits of recommending a new LCLS proposal to work in areas previously studied by others will be weighed by the PRP in their evaluation process.

Significant Deviation from Proposed Research in a Rated Proposal

It is recognized that, occasionally, some deviation from the original proposed research may occur during the course of planning and executing an experiment. Deviation from the proposed work that follows either from a new idea arising from the research or from new information since the proposal was submitted may be acceptable assuming it does not cover material in a proposal from another user group. All deviations must be discussed with the instrument scientist Point of Contact, and written approval obtained. Questions may be directed to LCLS management or the User Research Administrator.

Instrumentation Development

Although most of the proposals active at LCLS are for experimental work aimed at producing significant new scientific results or technological applications, LCLS also welcomes proposals for testing and developing scientific instrumentation, particularly when the instruments are likely to have impact on the developing field.